“May the beloved of the LORD dwell in security by Him, Who shields him all the day, And he dwells between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12, NASB
It’s great to be home! Thanks for your love, prayers, and support. So much happened in the past few weeks that I struggle with what to share. Perhaps some snapshots will say it best…
3/16/17 – Jehovah-Shammah
Our ZMI team met at the Charlotte Douglas Airport at 4:30 am. My Mark and our eldest son, Everett, accompanied me to see me off. Once united with my team, I followed the routine of checking in bags and passing through security. I saw my husband and son in the distance as my bag was stopped for inspection—I think the almonds looked suspicious 🙂. Then, a team member and I received the ‘okay’ to proceed, and that was my last vision of Mark and Everett for quite some time.
After two smooth flights, we proceeded through customs and connected with our Nicaraguan team members. We ate a delicious lunch at the hotel, checked into our rooms, and gathered that evening for a team meeting. Tears rolled silently down my face as we sang, “Good, Good Father.”
Yes! God is so good.
I experienced this truth in a new way upon embarking on my trip to Nicaragua. Every step of the way, God led me and stayed right with me. In fact, before the trip, He gave me a sweet gift: Ezekiel 48:35, which closes with the phrase, “The LORD is there.” Even though I traveled far from home to foreign places, God assured me ahead of time that He is there. Yes, He was and is … Jehovah-Shamma.
We attended our first event in the city of Leon at a local church. Pastor Jake preached, and Brenda and I invited the women to attend the women’s conference the next day. God provided wonderful interpreters who became like family throughout our stay. The young lady pictured here is Nyni, a newlywed expecting her first child in October … on her birthday and mine!
Before I taught the women in Leon, I received an e-mail from a dear friend. She sensed the Spirit’s leading through Scripture to encourage me to “be myself” as I taught, which was exactly what I needed to hear. Her timely message penetrated my heart, and God enabled me to teach about Queen Esther followed by truth about Jesus. Speaking about Christ led right into sharing the Gospel. When Brenda taught after me, she invited women forward who desired to trust Christ, and seven women walked up front. PtL! I also was able to pray with a weeping woman after the service. I’ve no idea what she softly cried out, but it was a beautiful thing to kneel alongside her and pray out loud, knowing God knew her exact needs.
That evening we attended the Crusade in Leon, which was held directly across the street from an enormous, historic Catholic church. Pastor Jake preached, and Pastor David interpreted. More people came forward to trust Christ as Savior! We handed out about 75 New Testaments.
We spent the Lord’s Day in Solidaridad, a very poor area where ZMI has helped build a church and a school. We witnessed about 10 baptisms, and there was a ribbon-cutting for the school. God is moving among these dear people, and it was very exciting to see the joy on their faces. The children are amazingly precious—so loving and longing to be loved. They experience hope from being on this property, and they are growing spiritually under the guidance of Pastors Manuel and Odili.
Pastor Jake preached that evening, and more people expressed their desire to know Christ as Savior.
3/20/17 – Rest
Brenda decided our team would enjoy a day of much needed rest at the hotel in Managua. God met with me so personally as I briefly sat alone in my hotel room. Yep—tears flowed again. I looked out the window at the blue sky, feeling overwhelmed with all I’d experienced so far. The Spirit brought to mind the line of a dear friend’s song, “We are under the same sky.” Despite the differences in countries and life situations, the women and children God placed in my pathway live under the same sky I do. Somehow, I could connect with them and encourage them in the Lord because there’s commonality in being humans who need Jesus.
3/21/17 – Various Adventures
I shared team devotions, full of excitement over the thoughts and verses God provided. Yet when it was time to start, nervousness flowed through me. My message seemed to fall flat like pastry without yeast. Brenda thanked me for my devotion, but I still felt insecure about it. The day continued on.
We traveled to Solidaridad. Upon arrival, one of the team members and I prayed about our upcoming teaching times, and I was encouraged. One lady nodded her head frequently as I spoke about Esther. It was as if she knew the story quite well. The women were so attentive—I do believe that was my favorite teaching time. We posed for a picture afterwards of the women holding Alcanzando la Justicia.
Later in the day, some girls grabbed my hand and insisted I play tag with them. Honestly, I preferred to sit but I couldn’t refuse, so around we ran. I’m glad I captured their picture so I can remember our adventure.
Until next time and part two of this update, I leave you with this truth: God never leaves us. He shelters us under His wings and carries us close to His heart. We are His beloved.
Much love in Christ,
Every step of the way, God led me and stayed right with me. (Click to tweet)